More Goalies Than Nets
NHL teams are getting closer to their final rosters and in the past week, we saw six goaltenders returned to the Ontario Hockey League and that has created some un-flu-like congestion.
London: Tyler Parsons received very high praise while with the Flames, to the point that the 19-year old got to play in a pre-season game against the Canucks. As expected, Parsons was returned to the Knights, who have used 2014 – 3rd round pick Emanuel Vella and former Plymouth Whaler draft pick Tyler Johnson in games. Parsons is number one. With two other goalies who have proven they are OHL caliber, London now has a decision to make on their number two.
Sault Ste. Marie: Their situation is the simplest. When 18-year old Joseph Raaymakers was released by the New York Rangers and returned to the Greyhounds, the decision was made to keep Free Agent Matthew Villalta as his backup. 2015 – 12th rounder Dougie Newhouse was assigned to the Soo Thunderbirds.
Owen Sound: Michael McNiven’s return from the Montreal Canadiens creates an interesting crease for the Attack. McNiven joins 19-year old Bradley Van Schubert and 17-year old Riley Daniels, who was a third round pick of Owen Sound’s two years ago. Do they Attack want to keep two 19-year olds and have Daniels develop elsewhere or does he act as backup for one of them?
Saginaw: With zero victories so far, the Spirit will be hoping the veteran goaltending of Evan Cormier will help. Brian Bonello is the more-than-likely backup with 2016 – 3rd round pick Cameron Lamour expected to get experience outside the OHL.
Oshawa: With the return of Jeremy Brodeur, the Generals will team him with 17-year old Kyle Keyser, who had been acquired from Flint. Oshawa also has Logan Gauthier and Barrett Mundell on the roster and they drafted Nathan Torchia in the 4th round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
Kingston: Jeremy Helvig is back from the Carolina Hurricanes and joins two Kingston draft picks, 2014 – 6th rounder Zach Moore and 2015 – 7th rounder Mario Pecchia on the Frontenac roster. With a shutout in his first game, Helvig showed he is going to be one of the OHL’s best. Where does Kingston see themselves this year? If it is a rebuilding year, he could be an important piece for them.
With the tumultuous year that the Firebirds endured in 2015-16, it was easy to think they might hit bottom this season and then have to make a long climb up. They brought a very small group of players to training camp. Will Bitten refused to report. Things appeared a bit ominous. Would they see one of the worst seasons ever?
Flint has guaranteed that they will not. They already have more games than the league low record of three and they sit in a tie for first place overall.
The Firebirds also own the top two league scorers, Ryan Moore and Nicholas Caamano and they have only allowed 12 goals in five games.
It’s actually the other team from Michigan that is off to the slowest start. The Saginaw Spirit are the last team left without a point.
Austen Keating and Artur Tyanulin Might Want to Shift to the West… The Team They Play For, Not So Much.
Keating had a goal and seven assists in Ottawa’s three game road trip through Sarnia, Saginaw and Flint. Tyanulin had five points. The downside was that Ottawa only nabbed one win in those three games and gave up 15 goals.
Greyhounds Still Haunting The Sting
The Sarnia Sting finished first in the West Division in 15-16 and met the Soo Greyhounds in round one of the playoffs. The ‘Hounds were the seventh seed and had finished 17 points behind the Sting in the standings. Sarnia seemed destined to advance past the first round for the first time since 2008.
That didn’t happen. The series went seven games and Brandon Halverson’s 36-save performance sent the Sting home early.
On Sunday, Sarnia got their first crack back at Sault Ste. Marie, the Sting watched as the Greyhounds erased a 3-1 lead in the third period and won the game in overtime on Otto Makinen’s first OHL goal.